Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Susan L. Taylor

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Susan L. Taylor

Marissa Mayer Pregnant: New Yahoo CEO Expecting A Baby Boy

Marissa Mayer Pregnant: New Yahoo CEO Expecting A Baby Boy

Women’s News: Women exert new influence on philanthropy

Women’s News: Women exert new influence on philanthropy

Inspiration Of Motherhood: Forget Supermoms–It’s All About The Smart Moms: Survey

Inspiration Of Motherhood: Forget Supermoms–It’s All About The Smart Moms: Survey

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.
Audre Lorde 

Inspiration Of Motherhood: Forget Supermoms–It’s All About The Smart Moms: Survey

Jennifer Rooney, Forbes Staff

Today’s mom is confident, comfortable, and in control, empowered by technology that enables her to share her views, cull information and communicate with others—particularly her kids.

That’s the finding of “The Truth About Moms,” a new global surveyof 8,600 online moms released today by McCann Truth Central, McCann Erickson’s global intelligence unit. It paints a picture of moms not in emotional terms, and not as overwhelmed victims, but in the realities of today: More than two-thirds are tech-fluent, and 81% of moms regard themselves as expert in at least one mom subject, such as cooking and nutrition, child education, or crafts. They’re savvy, decisive and no longer on a quest to be perfect in every way. And they’re getting more adept at integrating their family, work and personal lives.

The new reality for moms, largely a positive one, is similar around the world: Technology is giving them their platform for expression. Nearly 40% of online moms around the world say they write a blog; in China, where moms consider Weibo blogging, it’s 86%.

Nearly 70% believe technology helps them to be better mothers; in emerging markets such as China and India, these percentages rise to 91% and 90%, respectively.  And the love affair’s extreme: 49% of married moms would give up their engagement ring before their personal technology.

But the other reality about moms is that no longer do they feel under the gun to exceed expectations in all aspects of their lives and play the role of “supermom;” instead, 65% reject this notion, wanting instead for their kids to have a true picture of the people they are, including their flaws.

At the same time, 83% of moms said they just want their kids to be happy—a more important goal than wealth or success, according to the survey, conducted in the UK, the US, Italy, Japan, Brazil, China, India and Mexico. And the key values moms around the globe want to instill in their kids? Respect, honesty and smarts.

That aligns with a value shift that kicked in largely after 2008, when political corruption and corporate excess had reached a zenith, it became clearer that some financial and career goals would be less attainable, and people and companies alike reevaluated what they believe in and stand for. So that happiness moms want for their children? It’s a simpler one now.

That’s not to say there still isn’t tremendous pressure on both working and nonworking moms to do right by their children; navigate a deluge of information, advice and opinion spawned by the social web; and simultaneously keep their households, relationships, and work lives intact. They just have more resources now to tap to ultimately make decisions that are right for them and for their families, concluded Laura Simpson, global director of McCann Truth Central and echoed by panelists Linda Fears, editor in chief of Family Circle; Wendy Sachs, editor in chief at; Jamie Grumet, “I Am Not the Babysitter” writer recently featured on the cover of Time; and Ann Lundberg, executive VP at CafeMom at a research presentation today.

Another treat: Moms today are more than twice as likely to reward their children with technology than with chocolate. Consider it an Apple in lieu of candy.


Women’s News: Women exert new influence on philanthropy

By Temma Ehrenfeld


NEW YORK — When feminist writer Courtney Martin wanted to raise money to fund research into the future of online feminism, it made sense to turn to other women for funding.

She called in Jacquelyn Zehner, chief executive of Women Moving Millions, a philanthropic organization made up primarily of women who have donated at least $1 million each to women’s causes. Zehner arranged for a conference call with a small group of wealthy women and Martin this spring.

“They responded immediately and enthusiastically,” said Martin. In a month, this audience raised $24,000 to fund the research. For Martin, it was a satisfying and natural extension of some of her earlier activities. In 2006, she created The Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy, an annual gathering that began with a gift of $100 each to 10 friends, with instructions to give it away and then tell how.

Welcome to the world of female philanthropy – it’s not your father’s United Way.

“Women are taking ownership,” said Andrea Pactor, associate director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University, which has found that female-headed households are more likely to give to charity than male-headed households; and that in nearly all income groups women give more than men.

Women are exerting a greater influence on how philanthropy is done as they accumulate wealth and use their clout to change the way funds are raised and distributed. Roughly one million women in the United States each have assets of at least $2 million, according to 2007 InternalRevenue Service data, the most recent available. Wealth controlled by charitably minded women can be expected to grow as they build careers and inherit money from their parents and their husbands.

As more women give, they are likely to change not only what is funded but how they raise money, because female philanthropists often prefer to raise money in a group.

Three years ago, the Red Cross upped the ante in its women’s program, called the Tiffany Circle, asking for a $100,000 donation over 10 years for lifetime membership, and pulled in 61 new lifetime members the first night.

“We raised over $6 million in 30 seconds,” said Melanie Sabelhaus, a former deputy administrator at the Small Business Administration who heads the Tiffany Circle, “and not one of the women picked up the phone and asked her husband.”

Another group, the Women Donors Network, has 175 members who combine individual gifts in the $100,000 to $200,000 range and give $200 million a year to women’s causes. And Women Moving Millions, after five years, has more than 150 members.

Insiders say women have their own culture in grant-making. “We really believe the solution lies with the people on the ground. We don’t think we have all the answers,” said Zehner of Women Moving Millions.

For example, the Global Fund for Women, unlike most grant-givers, accepts handwritten proposals of any length and in any language, and is unusually open to grants for general purposes rather than specific projects. It also funds meetings to create networks of women activists.

The approach demonstrated its power during Egypt’s Arab Spring, said Christine Switzer, GFW’s director of development.

“Our women were able to mobilize together,” she said, pointing to 77 grants totaling more than $1 million GFW has given to Egyptian women, young and old.

Women have also helped establish a new model for medical research grants. For example, lupus, an autoimmune disease, typically hits women of child-bearing age, and often strikes minorities. Research was at a standstill in the late 1990s, so the lupus community created the Lupus Research Institute in 2000 to give small grants to fund experimental research on projects not necessarily likely to pay off quickly.

Few private groups were doing anything like it at the time. “We were open with each other about our frustration and that led us to be able to take risks,” said lupus activist Jennie DeScherer. Now the foundation is going international, and the small-grant approach has spread.

It is obvious that with everyone glued to their cellphones, nonprofits would miss out if donors couldn’t text money. But the United States lagged Europe in mobile donations until American women broke the logjam.

A $34.7 million Red Cross text campaign to aid victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake was put together by a team of women that included a special adviser at the State Department, leaders at the Red Cross, and Jenifer Snyder, a lawyer who created the platform with women technologists.

Snyder spent two years working out financial arrangements that are still in place with carriers. For every $100 texted, $93 goes to the charity, $6 covers costs and $1 is donated to the mGive foundation, which Snyder co-founded to vet nonprofits and help them use texting imaginatively, not just for fund-raising.

The text-for-Haiti effort wasn’t the first time that women innovated in the field of philanthropy. Giving circles were embraced in 1991 by the Ms. Foundation, and they have caught on and stuck. Members decide together where to give their dollars. Many groups don’t stipulate how much each person must contribute. Community foundations often manage the money.

Female philanthropists now are also establishing private family foundations and donor-advised funds to funnel money to the charities they care about most.

But the real surge in woman’s philanthropy may be yet to come.

“I’m waiting for the whole women’s funds movement to come to scale, understanding the interchange between economic security and health and civil rights and violence,” said Zehner.

When that day comes, expect a mobile-giving campaign, and a whole lot of lucrative conference calls.

Marissa Mayer Pregnant: New Yahoo CEO Expecting A Baby Boy

Marissa Mayer, the newly appointed CEO of Yahoo!revealed in a Fortune interview Monday night that she is pregnant with her first child — a baby boy. Mayer also tweeted the news.

The former Google VP told Fortune’s Patricia Sellers that Yahoo! executives knew about her pregnancy last month and “showed their evolved thinking” in hiring her anyway. The 37-year-old, who is married to Data Collective co-managing partner Zachary Bogue, is due in October and told Sellers she plans to take just “a few weeks” of working maternity leave.

According to Kara Swisher at All Things D, a source close to the Yahoo! board said Mayer’s pregnancy “was not part of the consideration.”

It appears as though Mayer is in a class by herself with this announcement. TechCrunch says Mayer may be “the first ever pregnant CEO of a Fortune 500 tech company” and calls the announcement “trailblazing.” While another power woman in tech, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, is also a working mother, her kids are a little older. Nevertheless, Sandberg has been vocal about what it’s like to be a working mom in tech. She made news in April when she said “there’s no such thing as work-life balance” — but noted she makes a point of being home for dinner with her family after work.

In June, the New York Times homed in on the difficulties some women face maintaining high-level tech careers and family responsibilities in start-up companies. “Much of the investment world, heavily dominated by men, remains skeptical about a woman’s ability to combine running a fast-growing tech start-up and motherhood,” reporter Hannah Seligson said, paraphrasing remarks by Send the Trend CEO Divya Gugnani.

Of course, Mayer’s news is different, because Yahoo! is a giant company — not astart-up. And while some reacted enthusiastically to Mayer’s news on Twitter, others seem to see it as an opportunity to continue the fight for better workplace policies for women. Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of The Atlantic’s recent cover story, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” replied to one tweet about the new CEO: “Some women can [have it all], absolutely. & I applaud her! but she makes my point. She’s superhuman, rich, & in charge. Still need change!”

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Susan L. Taylor

Born January 23, 1946, in New York, NY; daughter of Lawrence and Violett Taylor; married William Bowles, 1967 (divorced, 1971); married Khephra Burns; children: (first marriage) Shana-Nequai (daughter).
EducationFordham University, B.A.


Actress, Negro Ensemble Company; licensed cosmetologist, beginning c. 1970; founder, and president of Nequai Cosmetics, 1970-72; Essence magazine, free-lance writer, beauty editor, 1970-71, fashion and beauty editor, 1971-80, editor-in-chief, 1980–; television host/executive producer, Essence, the Television Program, late 1980s; Essence Communications Inc., executive coordinator, then vice- president, 1983–. Author of Essence column “In the Spirit”; author of In the Spirit: The Inspirational Writings of Susan L. Taylor, 1993.

Life’s Work

Editor-in-chief of the enormously popular magazine Essence, Susan L. Taylor is also the author of 1993’s In the Spirit, a collection of essays reprinted from her Essence column of the same name. Taylor is a key source of critical thought, inspiration, and encouragement for African American women throughout America. She was called “the most influential black woman in journalism today” by American Libraries in 1994.

Her success is all the more remarkable when one considers that Taylor was once down-and-out and barely scraping by, alone with her daughter, Shana-Nequai. When she was 24, she found herself separated, with rent due, car broken, and three dollars to her name. One Sunday morning in November of 1970, Taylor was beset by pain in her chest and experiencing trouble breathing. The New York City emergency room doctor who admitted her diagnosed her with acute anxiety and prescribed a heavy dose of relaxation. Leaving the hospital feeling fearful and hopeless, Taylor stumbled on inspiration on her way home.

Walking up Broadway, Taylor came to a church and went in on impulse. She had not attended church in years, but sitting in a back pew in her jeans and leather jacket, she heard a sermon that changed her life. “The preacher said that our minds could change our world. That no matter what our troubles, if we could put them aside for a moment, focus on possible solutions and imagine a joyous future, we would find a peace within, and positive experiences would begin to unfold,” she recalled in In the Spirit. “I decided to try it. I gathered up some of the small pamphlets in the church vestibule. Little did I know I was taking the first step toward replacing my fears with faith. It was the beginning of my realization that our thoughts create our reality.” Taylor held on, and eventually her part-time job at the new magazine Essence became full-time, providing direction for her career.

Born in the Harlem section of New York City to West Indian parents on January 23, 1946, Taylor was raised in a strict yet loving environment. She was taught about the determination of her forebears to make a better life. She heard stories of her maternal grandmother’s bravery–leaving a broken marriage and six children in Trinidad in 1916, settling in Harlem, working and saving and bringing her children and mother to the United States by 1925, and doing battle with anyone and anything that stood in the way of her family’s forward movement, including racist police, school principals, and even the federal government. “Like the women of her time, my grandmother didn’t wait for change; she initiated it,” Taylor noted in her column in Essence.

Taylor’s father, Lawrence, arrived in Harlem from St. Kitts, West Indies, in the early 1920s and opened a clothing store with Taylor’s mother, Violett. But by the early 1960s, the street on which the store was situated had become a “war zone” of drug-related crime and after 30 years, the business closed. Noting the “disturbing sadness” of many black male youths in the 1990s, Taylor remembered seeing a similar “deep, quiet kind of sadness” in her father’s eyes when his clothing store, the family’s main means of support, closed.

In her Essence columns, Taylor also recognized a central trait she had inherited from her mother. “My mother always said that one of her greatest frustrations with me was my mouth,” Taylor wrote. “But I come by my strong opinions naturally: In that respect I am my mother’s child.” In fact, Taylor celebrates her power to speak out. “It is not for nothing that black women have acquired a reputation for speaking out. Historically, our words have been our only weapons, and our voices often our only defense…. But let us not forget the power of our collective voice when it is united–in prayer or in protest or in demand.”

In her early 20s Taylor trained in acting with the Negro Ensemble Company. She also founded her own company, Nequai Cosmetics, obtaining a license as a cosmetologist and developing beauty products for African American women. Taylor’s experience with Nequai attracted the editors of Essence, which led to her first free-lance articles there.

After divorcing her first husband, William Bowles, Taylor struggled as a single parent in personal and financial crisis. She credits her daughter with helping her remain focused through these hard times. “After the breakup of my first marriage, I realized it was my sole responsibility to feed, clothe and educate my daughter,” she was quoted as saying in Memphis, Tennessee’s Tri-State Defender. “This empowered me and compelled me to live my life with purpose. My daughter has been my anchor.” The child accompanied Taylor everywhere while she pursued her career. In an interview with Michele Willens of Cosmopolitan, Taylor recollected her early days at Essence, explaining, “I just decided that rather than limit myself because I was a mother, I’d take her everywhere and expose her to everything. She was hanging around these offices when she was two.”

Taylor’s rise to the top at Essence took some ten years. While friends moved from one magazine to another, Taylor stayed on at Essence. “There were some moments of self-doubt, but the bottom line was that I was still challenging myself. And the waiting paid off.” Taylor moved from the part-time position of free-lance beauty editor, to the full-time staff position of fashion and beauty editor, and eventually became editor-in-chief, in 1981.

By the late 1980s Essence had a paid circulation of 800,000 and an estimated “pass-along” circulation of some 4 million, of whom about one-fourth were male. When asked what she hoped to communicate with the magazine, Taylor told Cosmopolitan, “We’re saying, ‘You’re beautiful and you’re intelligent and you can do.’

We try to deliver the strategic information and the inspiration to help black women make a triumph of their lives.” Taylor boasted to Beverly Beyette of the Los Angeles Times that Essence was one of the first magazines to consider in print the difficult subjects of incest, drug use, and rape. The publication’s coverage has ranged widely, from interviews with figures like Winnie Mandela, a leader in South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, to features on romantic meals for two, male-female relationships, hair-styling tips, and spa and European vacations.

In addition to her success editing Essence, Taylor has also excelled as a business executive and in television. During the 1980s, she became vice-president of the magazine’s publisher, Essence Communications, and the host/executive producer of the television show Essence, the Television Program, a 30-minute interview series produced in New York and syndicated to 55 network affiliates and independent stations. The show ran for four seasons in more than 60 countries. During this period Taylor also returned to school to finish her degree at Fordham University. She later received an honorary doctorate from Lincoln University.

During much of her tenure at Essence, Taylor has maintained a column titled “In the Spirit.” In addition to autobiographical reflections, she has addressed such diverse topics as sexuality, domestic violence, male-female relations in the African American community, the Gulf War, the beating of Rodney King, the meaning of Africa for African Americans, and black history. Offering her insights in the form of general advice, Taylor frequently stresses the need for positive and empowering thought–for spirit and faith–among black women and throughout black America in the ongoing personal and collective struggle against racism.

In 1993 Taylor collected a number of these essays and new ones for her book, In the Spirit: The Inspirational Writings of Susan L. Taylor. “In the Spirit is a deeply personal book,” Taylor wrote in the preface. “It’s about my healing and yours. It contains the seeds I want to plant in our hearts and within our universal garden so that we can uplift our people and ease the suffering in our world.” Publishers Weekly commended the book, particularly the author’s style, warmth, and generosity in revealing herself. Library Journal highly recommended it, noting that it was written “first of all for black women,” yet still “appeals to common humanity while encouraging transcendence.” In the Spirit became a national best-seller.

Taylor travels widely to address conferences for African American women and to speak on the state of black America. The African Women on Tour conference, for example, which was held in New Orleans, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles in 1994, featured three days of workshops, motivational speakers, and entertainment. In her address as keynote speaker, Taylor urged “quiet time” for focus and critical thought. “We need to know what our needs are and not let others tell us what are needs are,” she proclaimed, as reported by Malaika Brown of the Los Angeles Sentinel. “It’s just time for us to do the work and we know what the work is. What we have to become are critical thinkers.”


Honorary doctorate of Humane Letters, Lincoln University, 1988; National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women’s Clubs business award, 1983; Howard University Excellence in Media Award, 1982; Women in Communications Matrix Award.


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